JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The 2018 Air National Guard Outstanding Airmen of the Year were honored this week during a ceremony held at the ANG Readiness Center here, August 9, 2018, as a part of Focus on the Force Week.
Focus on the Force Week, hosted by Chief Master Sgt. Ronald C. Anderson, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard, is a week-long series of events, aimed at giving some of Air National Guard’s senior leaders the opportunity to hear the perspective of Airmen from the field, while also celebrating the successes of the enlisted corps.
“My sincere hope is that following this week we will all have a renewed sense of pride, motivation, and patriotism,” Anderson stated. “We must never forget that many of the successes in our lives resulted from a supervisor, commander, or fellow Airman who took the time to mentor us.”
The honorees met with ANG Director Lt. Gen L. Scott Rice and Anderson, having candid conversations on how their journeys relate to the total force. They also attended the Enlisted Field Advisory Council (EFAC) meeting, where they were able to voice the obstacles they face in accomplishing their missions to the advisory council of chiefs from across the 90 ANG wings.
“These four truly epitomize my vision of the 21st Century Guard Airman,” said Rice. “I hope after taking this brief pause from the daily grind, we come back not only more motivated, but also more focused on all of the great Airmen doing amazing things for our Air National Guard and our country every day”
The honorees also had the opportunity to share their ideas on bettering the enlisted force during the Chief’s Executive Course, an orientation for newly-promoted chief master sergeants in the Guard, where they participated in an open discussion between the new chiefs and a panel of former ANG command chiefs. They were addressed by guest speaker Sergeant Major John W. Troxell, senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who offered up passionate words of encouragement.
“The greatest advantage we have is in the human domain,” said Troxell. “Nobody trains, educates, trusts and empowers enlisted leaders like the United States military.”
The key focus of the week-long event is the gathering of ANG senior leaders, with the goal of building strategies for handling the complex issues facing the Air National Guard and its Airmen. Recognizing the ANG’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year is a key highlight of the week.
“I take great pride in recognizing those who embody the characteristics of great leaders, great followers, and great teammates,” Rice said.
The honorees, selected from the 90 wings across the Air National Guard, are: Staff Sgt. Wilson B. Gardner, Airman of the Year, 202nd Engineering Installation Squadron, Georgia Air National Guard; Tech. Sgt. Jermaine R. Beasley, NCO of the Year, 236th Combat Communications Squadron, Louisiana Air National Guard; Master Sgt. Ashley U.P. Able, Senior NCO of the Year, 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; and Master Sgt. Dawn C. Kloos, First Sergeant of the Year, 225th Air Defense Group, Washington Air National Guard.
Gardner was also selected as one of the U.S. Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year, and will represent the Air National Guard at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference scheduled for September in Washington, D.C.
“I am proud to represent the Air National Guard as one of the Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year,” Gardner said. “I hope to do justice to this platform, those I represent across the Guard and those who support me on this journey.”